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The Voyage [Large Print]
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Having published his first novel (Burden of Desire, Doubleday, 1992), MacNeil seems intent upon embarking on a second career in fiction, now that he is retiring from The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. His second novel is a thriller that tracks a Canadian career diplomat, David Lyon, through his up-and-down affair with a fashion model, Francesca (shades of The Bridges of Madison County!) D'Anielli. The best things about MacNeil's book are his pointed insights into the past 30 years of Canadian history. There are also some good passages about sailing. However, the labored inner thoughts of the diplomat and fashion model make for tiring reading, as do MacNeil's somewhat bashful but requisite sex scenes. Recommended where there is strong interest in Canada or in MacNeil in particular.‘David Dodd, Univ. of Col. at Colorado Springs

Public-TV newsman/anchor MacNeil has already shown off his novelistic skills with the admirable Burden of Desire, and his new novel, if not quite so penetrating, is an even more compelling read. David Lyon, Canadian consulate-general in New York, is a veteran of Canada's External Affairs department who, as the book begins, receives a tempting but tricky offer to advance his career. The problem is that an old flame of David's-Francesca, a lovely, impulsive young model with whom he had pursued a rash but obsessive liaison for years-is missing off a yacht found drifting in the Baltic off Finland. She has left a cryptic message for him; if it all comes to light, it could ruin his marriage and his political prospects. The book follows David as he recalls his infatuation and eventual disillusionment with Francesca, his efforts to break the news of his affair to his winning and cherished wife, Marilyn. It also brilliantly pursues Francesca as she pilots her yacht alone at night across the dark, wintry sea to an absurdly romantic assignation, and in the perils of her journey comes to terms with her past and present selves. MacNeil's writing has extraordinary narrative grip, particularly in the ocean sequences, and his sense of contemporary Canadian politics, and of that nation's perpetual anxiety about its proximity to America, is wry and utterly persuasive. This is an original, bittersweet romantic drama that is given an extra twist by the protagonist's determination (like that of the soon-to-retire MacNeil) to take up writing after a life spent successfully in another profession. Author tour. (Oct.)

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